Merseyside recorded more than 200 new coronavirus cases last week as the virus continued to spread through the region again.
Official figures show there were 215 new cases in the Liverpool City Region during the seven days up to Friday (August 28), up from 179 new cases in the previous week.
The last time the region saw more than 200 new Covid-19 cases in a week was at the end of May.
After a lull during June and July, the new figures suggest the easing of lockdown has seen the virus start to circulate again.
Last week’s rise in new coronavirus cases was due largely to a sudden spike on the Wirral, where cases tripled in a week.
Wirral now has the most new cases on Merseyside and an infection rate of around 25 cases per 100,000 residents.
The borough’s director of public health, Julie Webster, said this was due to “a number of outbreaks in a variety of settings” but did not give further details.
Data from Public Health England suggests Wallasey, New Brighton, Higher Bebington, Egerton Park and south Birkenhead have been particularly affected.
Cases elsewhere in the region have remained broadly stable.
Sefton recorded 32 new cases last week, a slight increase from 29 in the previous week, while Liverpool, St Helens and Halton all saw small decreases in the number of cases.
Knowsley recorded 12 new cases, the same as the previous week.
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Overall, the Liverpool City Region has an infection rate of around 14 new cases per 100,000 residents.
This is still well below the levels that have seen places like Blackburn and Manchester go back into lockdown, but the fact that cases have been consistently rising in recent weeks will be a concern for public health officials.
Although deaths and hospital admissions remain low and cases in many areas seem to be concentrated in the younger population, officials are worried that if the virus continues to spread it will eventually reach more vulnerable people.
Liverpool’s director of public health, Matt Ashton, last week warned residents to maintain social distancing, saying the next few weeks will be crucial in the battle against Covid-19 as children return to school.